A new cup for Division One clubs only is to replace this season’s League Cup – and Consett have been drawn away to North Shields in the opening round.
The Northern League Management Committee has decided to run two separate cup competitions for Division One and Division Two.
Previously the plan was to run the Brooks Mileson League Cup, which is for teams in both divisions, along with the Ernest Armstrong Cup, which is just for Division Two clubs.
However, the two competitions were suspended before the first round matches due to uncertainty over the pandemic and the weather affecting the league fixture programme.
The League Cup will now be replaced by a cup competition just for Division One clubs.
This is due to the pressure of fitting all the ties for a competition involving teams in both divisions alongside league matches, which are the priority.
A contributing factor was that The FA has also brought forward the date by which all league fixtures must be completed, to Saturday April 23.
The committee considered a number of options, including whether to run just a league cup without a competition for Division Two teams, but decided it was preferable for clubs from both divisions to be able to take part in their own cup competition.
The draw for the new Division One Cup has been made, and Consett will travel to North Shields on Wednesday 2 March, with the winners facing Redcar Athletic away on a date to be arranged.
Consett are already due to travel to the Daren Persson Stadium on Wednesday 23 March, for a league fixture which many are billing as a potential decider for the Northern League title.
Northern League chairman Glenn Youngman said: “Our decision to delay the start of the league cup and Ernest Armstrong Cup was welcomed by clubs, given the uncertainty that we faced at the time.
“However, cup competitions provide much-needed revenue for clubs, as well as giving supporters the chance to see further competitive matches before the end of the season.
“Completing the league programme has been our main priority, and we appreciate everyone’s patience as we have tried to deal with the effects of the pandemic and weather.
“We will continue to monitor the progress of the two cup competitions as we move forward.”
The decision to shelve the League Cup means our away tie at Billingham Synthonia will not now take place.
In other news, Consett’s home league game against Crook Town, due to take place on Tuesday, 15 March, has been postponed, as they will be playing a Durham Challenge Cup semi-final that midweek.
Our league game will now take place a week earlier, on Tuesday, 8 March, with a 7.30pm kick-off.